My parents were artists, and in between shows they conducted a ministry with men and women in the military—Sailors and Marines—in Millington, TN. I was three years old when the Navy started closing down the base school, and my parents decided to pack up and move all five of us kids to the country. We were outsiders, almost city slickers, who bought a piece of property right in the middle of an Amish community. It was a beautiful place and we learned so much from their culture. We were not Amish, just Bible believers who bought a farm. Even though we did not have rules and regulations governing our dress, we were raised to be respectful of the people around us. My parents stopped selling their art and tried to sell tomatoes instead, so we were organic-dirt poor. The clothes we did not make we bought at junk stores or yard sales. I learned to work hard and save money.
Dad and Mom had a wonderful marriage. People were always coming to them for marriage and family counseling and for Bible teaching. Mom instilled in us girls that when we married, our husband would be our head and we would be his help meet. She showed us every day what that looked like by the way she loved and worked alongside my dad.
Fast-forward to when I was 19. I married James Easling, a wonderful man from Washington State. We moved to Pennsylvania for a job and worked together restoring antique carnival rides. We made great money—better than my parents did when I was growing up on the farm. I remember at the mall one time, James wanted to buy clothes for me at the retail price. It was against every thrifty bone in my body. I tried to talk him out of it. I told him they were too expensive, but he said since we are making the money, we can spend it. I cringed but chose the cheapest thing and told him I liked it best. He smiled and picked the nicest thing and bought it along with my cheap selection. It felt wrong to spend the money when I really did not need it. Not only were they expensive, but they were not as conservative as I was used to.
Growing up in an Amish community, I naturally dressed more conservatively for the people I was around, and, without realizing it, I had built rules of modesty in my mind that were not to my husband’s taste. All the things he bought and those that elicited his compliments were tailored clothes. I worked to be his help meet but he was not what I grew up with; my clothes had always been cheap and four sizes too big.
Little by little, I began to realize that I was his but that I was trying to dress for everyone but him. So if he bought something for me, I would wear it for him. He glowed that I was his. He bought it for me, he picked it out, I looked amazing, and I was his. I started to realize that people were not looking at me, they were looking at us. “Look at that couple; they look so happy. That is so rare to see. What is different about them?” I had to let go of everyone else and decide to be his. It is funny because that is when people stopped seeing me, and saw us. We are so much more together.
I have found you can be prudent and not a prude. Money is just money and it will all burn. Clothes are just clothes and they will not last. My job is to be my husband’s help meet. Not his leader but his lover. Not his conscience but his confidante. Not his boss but his friend. Not his priest but his pride. We work hard together. We play hard together. We love each other and we still go shopping together! Oh yeah, and we make beautiful babies together.
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What a great perspective, Shoshanna! I also dressed far more conservatively when I met my husband. He thought I was a little strange with my tank top on at the beach (growing up on the beach that is considered "super conservative"). There was a process for us there also and a freedom that came for me after marriage. I feel safe when I am with him and because I am with him. But I am so glad he was attracted to me even all covered up. I felt very sure he loved my heart. Such a benefit of modesty before marriage even if it's a little too much modesty
Thank you for this article. I was one who would have judged Shoshanna for the way she dresses!! But I understand now...I too fell into the "plain" dressing trap. My husband didn't like it, so I changed for him. I feel freedom and he loves how I look. The more I listen and read of the Pearls materials, the more I realize how much religion there is in most people!! Me included. Thank you for your ministry.
Shoshanna, you showed that it is possible to dress both modestly and be fashionable.
For over 20 years I have grown to be more like Jesus, and your magazine and books have had a great part in this victory. The husband I couldn't respect because of extreme quietness, is actually a steady, loyal leader-type Christian. God is using him to gather neighbors for prayer for our nation, a Bible study in town at an antique shop weekly, the Gideon president of our county camp, even as he is a 75 year old full time farmer/mechanic!! As the Word of God says, being an honoring, loving helpmeet has allowed the Holy Spirit to do amazing things. Our annual church hayride, which hosts people inviting their neighbors and unsaved family, broke the record with 6 wanting to confess Christ after the Gospel presentation around the camp fire. It is not what we are doing, but what the Holy Spirt of power is doing because we acknowledge our brokenness!
One question that bothers me about NGJ ....how can you believe the Gap Theory, for it allows evolution to thrive and the blood of Christ to be unable to help all who believed and had died before the creation of Adam and Eve? ? ?
We do not believe in evolution. The earth was created in seven 24-hour days. It would seem that you are a bit confused regarding the Gap theory. Here are some articles and resources that should clarify some of the details:
This is a great tip particularly to those new to the
blogosphere. Brief but very accurate info… Appreciate your sharing this one.
A must read article!